Fighting skin cancer with a musical sound: the innovative Australian Sun Sound campaign



Publication Details

Potente, S., Rock, V., McIver, J., Williams, M., Magee, C. & Chapman, K. (2013). Fighting skin cancer with a musical sound: the innovative Australian Sun Sound campaign. Social Marketing Quarterly, 19 (4), 279-289.


Australian youth have good knowledge about skin cancer prevention as a result of over three decades of traditional mass media campaigns. However, youth sun protection behavior remains poor. This case study describes the results of a unique social marketing campaign (the Sun Sound) aimed at translating youths' knowledge into improved sun protection behavior. Formative research identified that a key barrier to sun protection was youth regularly forgot to protect their skin. As such, the campaign centered on a musical jingle that was broadcast at outdoor recreational settings as a "cue to action" reminder to use sun protection at the time and point of sun exposure. The Sun Sound was trialed at two coastal communities in New South Wales, Australia, during summer 2009-2010. The media launch generated 17.6 million Australian audience impressions (advertising value A$257,785). Intercept surveys conducted with 467 youth aged 12-18 years found there was high unprompted recall (41%) and understanding (79%) of the Sun Sound message. The Sun Sound was found to be an effective cue to action in prompting sun protection behaviors when heard, with over a third (38%) of respondents reporting use of additional sun protection upon hearing the jingle. Since the pilot, the Sun Sound has expanded to over 60 pools, beaches, and selected venues across Australia. The campaign demonstrates it is possible to influence behavior by targeting audiences at the actual point that behavior occurs, using research-informed insights and a relevant marketing mix.

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